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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => Wireless and Communications => Topic started by: Mike Karseboom on November 22, 2016, 09:39:44 AM

Title: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Mike Karseboom on November 22, 2016, 09:39:44 AM
With most of the discussions in this forum being pretty "high end" I am somewhat reluctant to even ask this.  But, I am wondering if a directional  antenna designed for consumer TV use would be a viable substitute for the $600 purpose made ones?


The Audiovox / RCA  ANT700  is available online for as little as $20.  Here is link to the product:


http://www.rcaantennas.net/indoor-outdoor/?sku=ANT700R (http://www.rcaantennas.net/indoor-outdoor/?sku=ANT700R)


I have some of the Audio-Technica 3000 series units and thought a couple of these antennae might provide more robust connectivity than the 1/2 wave antennae I am using with the DA600 antenna distribution system.


Or are there internal capability / quality differences that would make these cheap antennae poor choices?
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Ike Zimbel on November 22, 2016, 10:06:35 AM
With most of the discussions in this forum being pretty "high end" I am somewhat reluctant to even ask this.  But, I am wondering if a directional  antenna designed for consumer TV use would be a viable substitute for the $600 purpose made ones?


The Audiovox / RCA  ANT700  is available online for as little as $20.  Here is link to the product:


http://www.rcaantennas.net/indoor-outdoor/?sku=ANT700R (http://www.rcaantennas.net/indoor-outdoor/?sku=ANT700R)


I have some of the Audio-Technica 3000 series units and thought a couple of these antennae might provide more robust connectivity than the 1/2 wave antennae I am using with the DA600 antenna distribution system.


Or are there internal capability / quality differences that would make these cheap antennae poor choices?
Hi Mike, check out reply # 3 from Jason Glass in this thread:http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,161332.0.html
best,
Ike
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: boburtz on November 22, 2016, 12:11:54 PM
Hi Mike, check out reply # 3 from Jason Glass in this thread:http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,161332.0.html
best,
Ike
I have used (and continue to use) these for mics and iems, comparing them directly to the audio technica paddles, and they work equally well. MUCH more economical.
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Ike Zimbel on November 22, 2016, 09:30:43 PM
I have used (and continue to use) these for mics and iems, comparing them directly to the audio technica paddles, and they work equally well. MUCH more economical.
If you look closely at any manufacturer's LPDA, you will see that it is just a circuit board, painted black, with a BNC soldered to it (give or take certain refinements). I'm certainly going to take a closer look at those if I need antennas. I have also had very good results with these in a couple of installations:http://kaltmancreationsllc.com/pro-audio-wireless/wireless-microphone-antennas/
best,
Ike
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Keith Broughton on November 23, 2016, 05:58:16 AM
With most of the discussions in this forum being pretty "high end" I am somewhat reluctant to even ask this.  But, I am wondering if a directional  antenna designed for consumer TV use would be a viable substitute for the $600 purpose made ones?


The Audiovox / RCA  ANT700  is available online for as little as $20.  Here is link to the product:


http://www.rcaantennas.net/indoor-outdoor/?sku=ANT700R (http://www.rcaantennas.net/indoor-outdoor/?sku=ANT700R)


I have some of the Audio-Technica 3000 series units and thought a couple of these antennae might provide more robust connectivity than the 1/2 wave antennae I am using with the DA600 antenna distribution system.


Or are there internal capability / quality differences that would make these cheap antennae poor choices?
I had acouple of antennas like that, with SMA connectors, and they just didn't work as well as I expected.
Tossed them out.
The Shure had much better gain.
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Keith Broughton on November 23, 2016, 06:01:24 AM
. I have also had very good results with these in a couple of installations:http://kaltmancreationsllc.com/pro-audio-wireless/wireless-microphone-antennas/
best,
Ike
Which models have you used?
I got a chuckle reading about their "horn loaded" IEM antenna.
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Ike Zimbel on November 23, 2016, 10:15:33 AM
Which models have you used?
I got a chuckle reading about their "horn loaded" IEM antenna.
I've used the CP Array and the CP, with the latter used as both RX and TX (not at the same time!).
iz
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Mike Karseboom on November 25, 2016, 12:28:52 AM
For convenience, here is a direct link to the printed circuit board antenna:


http://www.wa5vjb.com/products1.html (http://www.wa5vjb.com/products1.html)


It seems like most of the purpose built Log Periodic antennae are "active" and need power.  Do the printed circuit boards in the link need power?  Not sure I understand the advantages / disadvantages of an active antenna.
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Keith Broughton on November 25, 2016, 06:09:34 AM
For convenience, here is a direct link to the printed circuit board antenna:


http://www.wa5vjb.com/products1.html (http://www.wa5vjb.com/products1.html)


It seems like most of the purpose built Log Periodic antennae are "active" and need power.  Do the printed circuit boards in the link need power?  Not sure I understand the advantages / disadvantages of an active antenna.
The antenna you linked to , or any other "passive" antenna, doesn't need power to work.
The log periodic and helical is just like a "stick" antenna in that it can transmit or receive signals. but work better in one direction.
An "active" antenna, like the Shure UA874, has an amplifier that can make up for long cable length signal losses and does require power to work. It is a receive only device but the element is the same design as the Shure PA805.
The design of the antenna element has more to do with what application you use it for rather than if it is powered or not.

http://www.shure.com/americas/products/accessories/wireless-systems/wireless-systems-antennas (http://www.shure.com/americas/products/accessories/wireless-systems/wireless-systems-antennas)
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Mike Karseboom on November 26, 2016, 10:57:04 AM
I just did an outdoor  tree lighting with choir and other activities on a closed downtown block.  I set the wireless rack with the DA600 antenna distribution unit and its 1/2 wave antennae about 50" high near the ceremony.  That all worked well for the choir and MC in that area.


Then some of the organizers suddenly wanted to do announcements  100 feet down the block and the wireless MC mic did not work so well for that.  I know this setup has the range to do this as I have done shows at that distance.  But I had good line of site from the receiver at FOH to the stage.  This time there were many bodies between the antennae and the MC.


So I am still thinking I need something to improve the reception.  It is not practical to raise the DA600 up to a high elevation.  So some sort of antenna on a pole is what I think I need. Some questions:


If I use  LP type antennae will I have too narrow of a reception coverage pattern to handle a choir at 90 degrees 20 feet away and a separate mic 270 degrees and 100 feet away?  That is 180 degrees of coverage is needed.  Or would I have to point the paddles to where they are needed?


The Audio Technica 3000 series is a diversity setup and so needs 2 antennae.  My understanding is that a diversity system is constantly checking which channel has the best reception and switches between them as needed. This is probably a dumb question but would I be likely to get good results with just 1 LP antenna hooked to the "A" channel?  I could elevate the antenna so it had a good line of site to the mic down the street.  Or would this really mess up the reception on a diversity unit.  I am not trying to cheap out, it is more about streamlining the setup.  These are often combat situations with lots of bad weather and awkward places for me to set up.
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Mac Kerr on November 26, 2016, 12:28:05 PM
If I use  LP type antennae will I have too narrow of a reception coverage pattern to handle a choir at 90 degrees 20 feet away and a separate mic 270 degrees and 100 feet away?  That is 180 degrees of coverage is needed.  Or would I have to point the paddles to where they are needed?

Position your LP antennas so they can cover both areas within their approx. 90 wide coverage pattern. If you current position puts them 180 apart, locate them on the other side of the stage pointing back at the stage and the for location.

Mac
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Lyle Williams on November 27, 2016, 04:40:23 AM
... would not an omni with a clear line of sight be ok for 100' ?
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Keith Broughton on November 27, 2016, 08:03:19 AM
... would not an omni with a clear line of sight be ok for 100' ?
I would think so.
However, in most cases, the omni antennas are mounted on the receiver and most likely not up as high as a mic stand mounted paddle would be.
I have used the SHure omnis mounted on truss, well up in the air, and it makes quite a difference.
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Mike Karseboom on November 27, 2016, 02:35:06 PM
I would think so.
However, in most cases, the omni antennas are mounted on the receiver and most likely not up as high as a mic stand mounted paddle would be.
I have used the SHure omnis mounted on truss, well up in the air, and it makes quite a difference.


So would this mean that I could expect better results by taking 2x of the 1/4 wave antennae that came with the receivers and put them up on a pole with good line of site?  I would connect them with 10' of coax cable and plug them right into the antenna distribution amplifier.  That is, would this be better than the 2x 1/2 wave antenna on the front of the unit that are not getting good line of site?
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Mac Kerr on November 27, 2016, 02:44:42 PM
I would think so.
However, in most cases, the omni antennas are mounted on the receiver and most likely not up as high as a mic stand mounted paddle would be.
I have used the SHure omnis mounted on truss, well up in the air, and it makes quite a difference.

A paddle on a mic stand isn't really very high. I would think along the lines of a speaker tripod that can get up 8 or 9 feet.

Mac
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Keith Broughton on November 27, 2016, 05:53:33 PM

So would this mean that I could expect better results by taking 2x of the 1/4 wave antennae that came with the receivers and put them up on a pole with good line of site?  I would connect them with 10' of coax cable and plug them right into the antenna distribution amplifier.  That is, would this be better than the 2x 1/2 wave antenna on the front of the unit that are not getting good line of site?
Well worth a try.
As usual, the line of sight rule should be followed as much as possible.
Yes, paddle antennas on a mic stand isn't that high but far better than omnis in a rack or on a table.
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Jason Glass on November 27, 2016, 09:16:37 PM

So would this mean that I could expect better results by taking 2x of the 1/4 wave antennae that came with the receivers and put them up on a pole with good line of site?  I would connect them with 10' of coax cable and plug them right into the antenna distribution amplifier.  That is, would this be better than the 2x 1/2 wave antenna on the front of the unit that are not getting good line of site?
*No. The rubber ducky antennas that are included with a system are designed for use connected to a rack unit, which acts as a counterpoise and becomes part of the antenna. When mounted on a mic stand, most antennas of this type actually have zero to negative gain values. The correct omnis for this omnidirectional application are the Sennheiser A1031-U and the Shure UA860SWB, which both have approximately 2-3dBi gain in the horizontal plane when erected vertically and do not require an external counterpoise.

Both diversity antennas should be oriented to cover all of the desired performance area. A single antenna covering an area is susceptible to multipath dropouts and the receiver has no other option to switch to when this occurs.

The best way to extend the range of any RF mic system is to use the highest gain passive directional RX antenna possible. Active antennas do not increase range, because they amplify noise along with signal, and usually significant IMD. In our biz, the antennas must be wideband, so the highest gain passives readily available are helicals like the PWS HA-8089 or the RF Venue CP Beam, which typically have 11-14dBi axial gain.

*EDIT- My statement here about rubber ducky antennas is too general and there are many exceptions. As I replied to Keith later in this thread:

"Hi Keith,

I think you are correct. Shure UA8 and UA820 whips may actually be coil-loaded dipoles, and Shure indeed shows illustrations in various system literature that show them mounted to UA834 inline amps, which would offer little counterpoise surface area. I humbly stand corrected and regret making such a general statement about whip antennas."

Sent from my mobile phone. Please excuse the inevitable spelling and grammatical errors.
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Keith Broughton on November 28, 2016, 07:05:38 AM
No. The rubber ducky antennas that are included with a system are designed for use connected to a rack unit, which acts as a counterpoise and becomes part of the antenna.
It is my inderstanding that a 1/2 wave can be mounted on it's own and a 1/4 wave needs a ground plane.
The Shure sticks are 1/2 wave (dipole)and the Sennheiser sticks are 1/4 wave.
Have I got this wrong?
It would be easy to create a mount with a disc of metal to make a ground plane antenna that could be on a mic stand.
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Jason Glass on November 28, 2016, 11:14:02 AM
It is my inderstanding that a 1/2 wave can be mounted on it's own and a 1/4 wave needs a ground plane.
The Shure sticks are 1/2 wave (dipole)and the Sennheiser sticks are 1/4 wave.
Have I got this wrong?
It would be easy to create a mount with a disc of metal to make a ground plane antenna that could be on a mic stand.
Hi Keith,

I think you are correct. Shure UA8 and UA820 whips may actually be coil-loaded dipoles, and Shure indeed shows illustrations in various system literature that show them mounted to UA834 inline amps, which would offer little counterpoise surface area. I humbly stand corrected and regret making such a general statement about whip antennas.

Sent from my mobile phone. Please excuse the inevitable spelling and grammatical errors.

Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Keith Broughton on November 28, 2016, 02:42:14 PM
I humbly stand corrected and regret making such a general statement about whip antennas.


Considering the vast ammount of useful, and accurate, info you have provided here, 1 small transgression is allowed  ;D
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Scott Helmke on November 28, 2016, 04:22:36 PM
The Shure 1/2 wave antennas, as supplied with higher-grade systems such as UHF-R, ULXD, etc. are center-fed dipoles.
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Mike Karseboom on November 28, 2016, 05:11:04 PM
Considering the vast ammount of useful, and accurate info, ... provided here...  ;D


Yes very good info, even just in this thread.  So far I am getting:


- one antenna by itself is not going to work well in a diversity system, regardless the type or  how good a line of site it has


- the low cost components made for consumer digital TV applications are probably not going to work very well.  Instead you need either the real deal from the wireless vendors or something someone else has already shown to work well


For my situation I am thinking a pair of some sort of omni antennae raised high in the air will work best.  Most of the time any mic would be within 200' of the receiver / mixer position.  But much of the time at least one wireless transmitter would be within 10' and/or moving between those extremes and in a 360 degree range.  So while a directional antenna might be more sensitive, I might have to rotate them on a continual basis to keep them pointing toward the transmitter.  I also think the 200' max range is reasonable for even the basic receivers I have with no external antenna if I can just get a good line of site.  So maybe with elevated omni's  I will have very good reception.


With any kind of antenna - what kind of things would be considered blockages to line of site"?  Obviously structures cause varying levels of attenuation although I have gotten adequate reception in different rooms or even with mics outside the building.  And I guess that when the antennae are not elevated a bunch of warm bodies between the mic and receiver cause significant signal loss.  But I am wondering about other typically encountered things.  For example, would the roof structure of a typical popup canopy or possibly a leafy tree would cause problems if they were the only thing compromising a direct line of site?





Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Lyle Williams on December 02, 2016, 06:32:30 AM
If you feel you want a ground plane for a 1/4 wave whip, just add one with a small metal plate or some wires.

A ground plane for a 1/4 wave whip can help get closer to the nominal 50ohm impedance. It may not matter much in practical applications where you have an antenna attached to a mic stand.

Amplifiers amplify signal and noise equally (and throw in some extra noise for giggles.)  Unless your cable loss is significant, an amp may not help.

Directional antennas can help by being sensitive in the direction of your signal and hopefully less sensitive in the direction of noise.

TV amplifiers have an economy of scale way beyond anything in the wireless mic world.  But amplifying unwanted VHF may be undesireable.
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Keith Broughton on December 02, 2016, 07:52:45 AM
  But amplifying unwanted VHF IS  undesireable.
This is what most users don't understand about "antenna amplifiers".
They should be called "cable loss amplifiers"
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: brian maddox on December 02, 2016, 01:15:44 PM
This is what most users don't understand about "antenna amplifiers".
They should be called "cable loss amplifiers"

Or the more precise and technical term, "RF cable loss maker-uppers"  :)
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Scott Helmke on December 02, 2016, 01:42:34 PM
Or the more precise and technical term, "RF cable loss maker-uppers"  :)

Might I suggest "cable loss compensation". That might actually make enough sense to audio guys to where they'd use it properly.
Title: Re: Poor man's paddle antenna
Post by: Ike Zimbel on December 11, 2016, 01:03:07 PM
Which models have you used?
I got a chuckle reading about their "horn loaded" IEM antenna.
Update: I used a CP model for my surveillance antenna on the MLS Cup final at BMO Field last night, and it was great. With it, running down 100' of not-so-low-loss cable, I was able to:
-See and listen to an un-coordinated frequency which turned out to be a Sennheiser EW-100 hand held mic at the DJ booth at the "Bud Big Rig", parked outside the venue. This was at least 500' away.
-Determine that the two Senn SK2000 lav packs that were being used for coach mics were not set to the same power output (one was on Normal, the other on High). These were in one of the booths, about 100' away from the antenna, and 90* off axis.
That's just a couple of examples.
So, I have already made a cut-out for one of these in my road case and will be using it on all future gigs.
Full disclosure: I am authorized to sell this product in Canada. That said, I'm not about to get behind anything I don't believe in when I'm putting my reputation on the line!